A Burton on Trent teenager is getting the specialist powered wheelchair he needs in preparation for college life in September – thanks to the fundraising efforts of Midlands Co-operative.
Eighteen-year-old Shaun Waters – who has secured a place at Beaumont College in Lancaster – will be studying theatre and the arts and the specialist wheelchair will enable him to live more independently and participate in a wider range of course activities. Shaun has Cerebral Palsy, which means he has no independent mobility.
The £5,748 wheelchair has been funded through the Midlands Co-operative’s two-year charity partnership with Staffordshire-based Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. Newlife is Midlands Co-operative’s staff-elected charity and since the partnership was launched in May 2012 more than £86,000 has been received, raised through a range of activities and personal challenges. Due to the efforts of Co-operative Funeralcare, Shaun is the latest person to benefit.
Sam Morris, Funeral Director at Co-operative Funeralcare in Borough Road, Burton on Trent, said: “As part of the local community, my colleagues and I are delighted to have been able to help Shaun in this way. We wish him all the best with his studies and hope he enjoys college life.”
Shaun – currently a pupil at Saxon Hill School in Lichfield – said: “It’s brilliant and will make a huge difference to me. Thanks to Newlife and everyone at Midlands Co-operative for making this possible.”
Mum Debra Waters added: “The new wheelchair will enable Shaun to do more for himself and the high-low facility will enable him to interact with people and activities on multiple levels, which will be particularly important when he starts his residential college course later this year.”
On a lighter note, it will enable him to see over the heads of fellow football supporters when he attends matches and get an uninterrupted view of the stage when he goes to the theatre.
Newlife Fundraising Manager Nora Smith said: “We are extremely grateful for the continued support of the Midlands Co-operative and its dedicated members of staff who are helping to revolutionise the lives of disabled and terminally ill children across their trading area. Every penny raised goes directly to help provide children with the essential specialist equipment they so desperately need.”
Three Midlands Co-operative Society managers will be tackling the gruelling 26.2miles of the London Marathon in April in a bid to raise a further £7,500 for Newlife. They include Head of Transport Matthew Ward, from Swadlincote near Burton, who said: “I have young children of my own and I value my time with them. Supporting Newlife is all about helping to put a smile on the faces of other children in the Midlands Co-operative area. Whilst I am a keen runner I have never attempted anything more than a 10k event; it will be the thought of the children that keeps me going at the 20-mile mark of the marathon.”
If you would like to support the trio, go to their Just Giving website: www.justgiving.com/CoopNewlife
To date, Newlife has provided 466 items of disability equipment for children in Staffordshire, totalling £710,266. Nationally, the charity has spent more than £8.2million on specialist equipment.
Pictured: Shaun Waters.